Nollywood actor, Ayo Animashaun, who recently survived an auto crash, speaks to TEMITOPE ADETUNJI about the experience
Recently you survived a ghastly accident, what really appened?
In addition to my acting career, I am also a site engineer, I help people with construction. A client of mine gave me a future plan to help him excavate a swimming pool and lounge. That was where I was coming from when the accident happened. I had already got to Magboro when a trailer carrying gravels had brakes failure and ran into my car. It dragged my car, causing it to spin. In fact, I thought my car was going to fall in the ditch around Magboro bus stop. I saw my car spinning. People were already shouting that I was dead, because my car was compressed totally. But I was rescued and rushed to a nearby hospital in Magboro, where I got first aid treatment before I was referred to Ifako General Hospital.
When did the accident happen?
It was a few days to my birthday, December 22, 2022.
How do you feel surviving the accident, particularly as it was a few days to your birthday?
It took me an extra hour to confirm to myself that I was still breathing because at that moment I saw my soul leaving my body. You can imagine you sitting and driving your car, the steering is not controlling, the brakes are not working and the car is just spinning. I was travelling, so, I was on 100-120km/h on the express. Then the ran into me, my car started spinning, then I said to myself, “This is the end.”
Were you badly injured?
No, just some scratch and bruise on my lips.
Were there lessons you took away from that experience?
I learnt that everything you have can be taken away from you when you least expect it. I never thought it could happen to me. I believed that God is always behind me and that nobody can do anything to me. Now I believe that anything can happen, anybody can do anything; do not underrate people. All I was able to say was that, ‘So, this is me!’
Is this to suggest that you think the accident has a spiritual undertone?
You know the world is spiritual. I am grateful to God for giving me a second chance. God just wanted me to live so that I can count my blessings and show gratitude.
For how long have you been an actor?
I started acting in late 2006; approximately 17 years now.
Did you train as an actor?
Yes, I trained under the Odunfa Group, with the set of Yinka Quadri, Ogogo, and others.
Who are your contemporaries?
I hardly always want to talk about this, but I will say I trained under Yinka Quadri; he has been my role model, and he gave me the best support in the industry, and I owe him that.
What influenced your decision to become an actor?
My both parents are born comedians; you can’t spend one hour with my father and he wouldn’t crack you up. So, it’s something that runs in my family.
How do you combine acting with working as a site engineer?
With the current Nigeria’s economy, you cannot survive doing just one thing. When I was in school I had a mini poultry and a fish farm. So, I grew up to know that one needs to have different streams of income. If one doesn’t work, another will. Besides being an actor and a site engineer, I am also a certified gym instructor.
How many movies have you produced or acted in?
I have acted in numerous movies but I have only produced one movie. I produced the movie in 2018; it was released in 2021 to Africa Magic and aired in 2022. It is titled Akinbusayomi.
Why are actresses in Nollywood richer that their male counterparts? We see them flaunting mansions and expensive cars.
Society generally encourages females more than males. It is not only in the movie industry; it is like that everywhere. In the financial industry, for example, you see female bankers driving big cars. So, it is everywhere, not only in the movie industry.